Saturday, April 2, 2011

This Woody Made Itself !!
with a little help from some friends
Peter Schwarzel ~ Carbonworks 
Mal and Sean ~ Anatomic 
Condo Sensei, Peter Catajar, Arie and Linda Carmody
Scott Wating ~ Barry's Laser
Ian & Joe ~ Paradise Road Cycles 

Dr. Mal at Anatomic 
From conception this Woody had a life of its own.  I was just the worker.  The wood stocks assembled themselves over a great period of time. For some reason I collect wood. I keep wood and (some) people give me wood...( I know what you are thinking : )

These woods are in this frame.

'60something' pieces, 9 different species.... from Africa, Fiji, Canada, Australia, Tasmania (its almost like a different county) and Papa New Guinea. The Rose Wood and the '23 rings to the inch aircraft grade' Douglas Fur were off cuts of slabs I used in the dining room of Witches Falls Cottages. 
The Cedar was from the now defunct Captains Table Restaurant in Surfers Paradise and had a curious smell of deep fried calamari, lime and pickled ginger, all combined with that unforgettable Cedar bouquet... 

The 'spiritual heart of this machine' ...  Shinto speaking, is Hinoki, which is a very much loverd Japanese timber.
Gold and Snake Shin contradiction
Hinoki stays and Down Tube

Last year after riding Woody No 1 some 1000km around the mountainous Izu Peninsular and Kanto Plains of Japan I was given some Hinoki by Condo Sensei, a highly skilled timber artisan and patient teacher from nearby Odawara.
Condo Sensei on the Big Woody 2012
I showed him Woody No1 and told him of 'my beliefs' over green tea ... probably because Coopers stout is not 'big' over there : (   Condo Sensei offered some Hinoki for inclusion in my next frame...  From that moment I knew I  had a mission...
Off roading Woody No1 around Lake Ashnoko 700m ABSL ...yes it floats !
Fuji view guard rail, No1 wooden fixie 

Splinter check ...South bound, West Coast Izu on a closed cliff hanging coastal road 
From what little I know Hinoki is used in Japanese Temple buildings amongst other things. 
It has been called 'Go-Shin-boku'  "Tree where god (small 'g') stayed" ... In Traditional housing it is often seen in the central 4 post support structure because of its strength and flexibility (think earthquakes),  and its good looks, for its left exposed on its journey through the house. 
It's also used in Japanese baths for its ability to withstand somewhat 'intriguing', humid environments.  

Exhibit 109 Car Crash !!
I had and idea for the design of this frame which has developed over years of riding and recently fined tuned over many restless nights rolling around in my 'window box bed' ...(its cooler out there! ) 
Sound design principles like a long real estate grabbing 1035mm wheel base, real easy head angles that a '1800's Kalgoorlie Gold Miner' would be proud of, and a seat angle that is all GO !  ... So finally my butt  (opps!  wrong link) ...try this ...butt will be going faster than my head, which will be a nice change these days. 

This whole endeavor stems from my prolonged 'study' of boat building and directly 'reverberates' from contemplating building acoustic guitars...  Thankfully I finally realized that if I want to embark on that 'long and winding road' to creating a Master Piece, 
I should at least build something I can ride ! 

Making the best of the badge 'Cycle Tragic' is not easy, so I'm hoping that the brave move of building and riding  'Woody's' in amongst the ever growing number of 'injection molded, Le Tour approved carbon' will finally satisfy the acclamation...!

I decided to build a fixed wheel frame because as you may well know, it's the 'purist form of Cycling'  apart from  'Tall Biking'  (you'd better 'Scroogle' that if your backward or covered in 'Le Tour Kit' )   Such 'purity' will allow me to concentrate on and develop the 'ride qualities of wood' in all its glorious combinations.  It is arguably a New Frontier in the never ending search for a 'sweet ride'.

As for the build first some CAD drawings and a complete MDF patten in great detail was made in an almost ritualistic way, then basically I threw them out the front of the shed ! 
Finally at some stage, slightly intoxicated, which helps me in defining moments like weddings etc., I plunged into my coveted wood stocks.  
CAD Drawings?

Several months later the frame was finished and embellished with all the 'Pimp my Ride' bling that I could afford to courier half way round the world !

'See' trials  have started here along the Gold Coast inevitably ending up at Point Danger, a mecca for 'Wooden Bike Test Pilots' and have undoubtedly turned a few heads and made a few cry !  'Fall Out' or not... a  traditional  'Maiden Voyage'  will be undertaken in Japan in April even if I have to find a full radiation suit in gold ! 

Rammed Earth and Wood !


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Failed Cyclist

Failed Cyclist - Low Level Cycling Skills 

When we were kids learning to ride, most of us were taught by someone with dubious road skills like our brother or worse still our sister….then our moms told us, time and time again, not to ride on the roads or we’d get run over!

To make matters worse we never had a proper bike with lights so we trundled along the wrong side of the road in the gutter when we got caught out at dusk. We did this even in the day in the hope we would be seen by on coming cars before they could hit us… Such was our instilled fear and appreciation of road rules.

So we tooled around on the footpaths with occasional forays onto the roads, all be it, most probably contra flow and island hopping to avoid the lights…We developed a way of riding with fear, missing completely the opportunity to use the road rules at our disposal to control the traffic at hand to our advantage. We became Failed Cyclist.

This lack of being told to ‘stand one’s ground’ out on the roads, particularly at intersections, has had far reaching consequences for Cycling today.

These very same ‘Failed Cyclist’ ditched their bikes as soon as they could get a licence and are now the drivers that we deal with daily on our roads. Many are amongst the bureaucrats that control our roads. These typical drivers’ barrels down streets and round intersection, and when confronted by a Cyclist hear an echo somewhere in their head… 

What the #%!! are you doing on the road, don’t you know you’ll get run over  … you should be on the footpath…you wouldn’t dare move over into the right side of this lane to turn right when I’m barrelling through…I’m in a Land Crusher…! 

And so this lack of education perpetuates the problem for Cyclist of how to gain respect form motorist which are really ‘Failed Cyclist’. 

At this point I’d like to speculate that because of our reluctance to ‘stand our ground’ we are missing the opportunity to educate motorist that Cyclist have the right to take up a lane to control the traffic to our advantage. 

More importantly it has also lead to the ‘bike lane-ing off’ of most of the carriageway, so motorists can continue to barrel through… Current BL's just disappear at the first narrowing of the road. This just doesn't make sense. Our right to use a narrow lane hadn't disappeared, but the Bike Lane has ... What is this saying ? 

Maybe the current application of Bike Lanes worst point is that they reinforce Moms Rule…Are they implemented to segregate us, to put the onus on us to reenter the lane when they disappear,  just to get us out of the way of a motorist on a mission.... Currently they give preference to the overtaking vehicle which should never be the case.
Is there implementation the work of  ‘Bureaucratic Failed Cyclists’? 

Undoubtedly,  the issue with current BL's is that they don't go fare enough ! 

What we need is a revitalising of the rights of cyclist, that a cyclist in a lane has the right to that lane. That an overtaking vehicle must overtake in another lane, or if lane sharing, should pass at a maximum of 40kph regardless of the existing roads speed zoning, or use another lane. 

This would have a profound effect on Cycling. It would be the bases of a paradigm shift for the way motorist interact with cyclist. It would cost a fraction of the money allocated to segregating cyclist with bike lanes. And once adopted, be of benefit to all Cyclists anywhere on our road system.

Motorist would soon equate seeing a Cyclist on a road anywhere as a traffic charming device…. That it’s OK for them, and is actually mandatory to slow down, so Cyclist can share the road also.
All Cyclists really need is for motorised traffic to give a little more time to negotiate the existing road ways and to share the roads in a non threatening way. A 40kph limit on lane sharing is the least we should expect. That’s simple and sensible and would not add to motorist journey times.

If we are to promote Cycling as a legitimate, safe and respected way to get around something needs to change and Green Lanes are a perfect example of the start of that change. 

Green Lanes ....

These lanes are the green ones that we now see crossing Left Turning Lanes giving priority to Cyclist that are ‘shootin through’ .
I take it they are designed to alert Motorist to the presence of Cyclist and only requires them to Yield to any Cyclist present.   Unlike other ‘Bike Lanes’ they are applied in the existing lane and don't exclude others.

A precedence is being set with these Green Lanes that we should not overlook.

Why can’t we expect these marking elsewhere ?

It seems that ‘missing links’ in the Bike Lane rollout could be ‘patched’ with these devices and narrow difficult roads could be made Bike Friendly till widening comes along.

As an example ...  Take a nice new shiny Bike Lane stretching for km’s,  but every now and then comes a bridge or narrowing of the roadway so we are unceremoniously thrown back into the traffic lane … that the Motorist, by then think they own!

This is precisely where Green Lanes make sense,  or any other narrow fast moving road which Cyclist have issues with.  We have the right to ride these without intimidation,  but we are usually squeezed by overtaking traffic and our own reluctance to stand our ground.

A cry to ‘Give Cyclist a Meter’ hasn’t worked. 
Many riders are intimidated so more need to be done... Why do we wait for every road to be widened before space can be allocated to Cyclist, particularly when we already have the right to use the lane?

So... slap in a 1.5m Green Lane. A 'gauge' if you like...backed up by easily understood rules that everyone can see. Put them ‘IN’ the existing lane at squeeze points, etc, requiring overtaking vehicles to ‘Yield to Cyclist' when present or overtake outside of the Green Lane’.

As Cyclist we want ‘educated motorist’... the road is a very big Black Board.
Lets demand markings that reaffirm our existing rights and put the onus on Motorist to share the road.

The Green Lane precedence is there, and our rights already exist. Think about it....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tongue & Groove's Maiden Voyage

 If you are not the open minded type, or your interested in wading through something a little more serious you might like to check out ...
Otherwise read on...

In 2008 I spent some time in Odawara, Japan cycling amongst other things. could be worth a look if you want to see what one part of  Cycling Heaven is like... Don't forget to click on the 'Older Post' link at the bottom of each page...

John Welshford 'Walkabout' 
Having a fair amount of time on my hands I came to the realization that my dream of building a John Welshford rower/sailer called Walkabout should be acted upon.
The problem was the lack of space, tools, and water access… in the end I had an epiphany…!
Why not practice Epoxy Plywood construction simultaneously satisfying another burning desire that I have been converting since stumbling onto my all time favorite site

That of 'rejoining' the ever-growing list of smug hipsters tooling around on all manner of fixed wheel expressions.
I say rejoining because I still savor the faint glow of 'smugness' from back in the 80’s 'plying' forgive the pun, the streets of Sydney on my track bike.
Some might even still detect a kind of cock-sure  swagger in the way I stroll into bike shops and the like that only a fixed wheeler has…

The lofty heights of this 'fixation' was audibly appreciated in the form of countless horn blowings I received one sunny summer Sydney Saturday when I decided to pick up a double foam mattress destined for my camper van trip around OZ… on the track bike!
Call me green/orange... I just couldn’t see the point of missing out on a perfectly good 10k ride.

I declined the offer of delivery, mentally reserving the funds for more Baba Ghanoush and to the dismay of the shop staff, preceded to tie the mattress up on the shop floor into a somewhat large awkward roll, hoisted it over one shoulder and spun on down the Pacific Hwy wearing noting but 80’s high cut runners shorts…you know the ones split up the side too almost the waist band….

When I say ‘spin’ I’m talking courier like, ‘stand aside or bare a child’  pre-Hipster shit!

Just now, I’m wondering about ‘smugness' that Snobby is so acutely aware of, it’s probably like energy, you can’t destroy it …It just reverberates through cool stuff like bikes and high cut running shorts and places like NY.
And it can be created in the first instance in a naive sort of way...
I think also that smugness can 'pop up' on the planet when some is created elsewhere...  which leads me to the thinking that maybe, just maybe I was a precursor to of all that, out of hand Triathlon smugness... riding around half naked, crusted in salt water, in running shorts.

That bike by the way, ended up being thrown off the100m high cliffs, in a sacrificial burial at sea  to join numerous other vessel in the cold Southern Oceans watery grave site of the Great Australian Bight
It had inadvertently been crushed behind the Roo Bar of my 'mattress on wheels' during an all-night dash across the desert..! That must have hurt...! The karma of which I'm still living with... 

Is there a syncopation emerging here with bikes and boats?

Some say bikes and aircraft, with the Wright Bros and the likes of those Aerospace backgrounded, titanium wielding Oregon frame builders.
But for me its bikes and wooden boats!
Just to have built my own frame, rig it up and then ride it is probably very similar to the satisfaction of sailing or rowing off into the distance in your own hand made boat...

So satisfying that I think all call this creation ‘Sperm’

'Blow it out ya Ass' although a satisfying feeling and undoubtedly 'propelling'... would stand to be miss understood and doesn't have the depth of meaning and synergy that Sperm does.

Sperm epitomizes the feeling of satisfaction and the feeling of having finally created some smugness!
The sperm's tenacity in competition and ability to propel itself at amazing speed are 'bikeable' qualities. Did I hear somewhere that if a sperm was the size of a whale it could swim across the Pacific in a matter of hours…! …! Obviously more marine syncopation.

Kamikaze Sperm, although unproven, congers up visions of Bike Lane Salmon, and fixed wheel riding, testosterone laden, 'Bike Messengers' types darting about the wombs of our cities are obviously sperm expressing their desire in the real world …!

Apart from all these wonderful connotations, undeniably a ‘woody’ of this magnitude could be a real Chick Puller!! 

Well I have probable said enough so I will leave you with the details to make your own decision whether Plywood is the new Carbon...

'Sea Trials' will begin as soon as I get a chain and a befitting Maiden Voyage undertaken.
Stay posted Buccaneers!  shows some of the build... and a couple of post from ridejapan...


Tongue and Groove ....Ply Wood Bike

I need to manufacture an anodized gold alloy headtube with flame like flanges on either side to bolt onto the head stock, also gold anodized alloy plate dropouts to bolt onto the dream-like stays.
A short but satisfying anodized alloy seat post tube will be inserted with tenderness as well …

Here's a two-tone shot just to make sure you'r still with me...

Can't you just see that gold anodized flame embellished head tube with a Orange Chris King head set...coming at ya under the eerie glow of a solar powered street light...

Ultimately a black ‘natural carbon finished fork guiding a gifted… thanks Gman… black high flange, bladed, four spoke 26inch by 23mm Spinergy front and a Orange High Flange Velocity 700c flip flop rear…
All this proven coolness will be under constant power from a black Sugino crankset with black SPD’s at the first interface !!
On the cultural side, the obliatory Won Bok connection...

A golf ball inspired Dimple-Matic TM anti wind drag vortex finish!

The BB has a swiss cheese like 11 layer layup with lots of holes.

Now delving a little deeper ... an undercover back stay tatoo...

And deeper...a little Bondage, although painfull is necessary sometimes ... ...

The long and slender stays stand ready for sculpturing...and embellishment with some nicely worked gold anodised plate alloy dropouts.

Warning.... men at work... illusion or realisation...?

Now even deeper .... Should this be classified ??

Now just to put all that in perspective ... check this gate house....


For your eyes only !

With Orange being the new Green I thought that Plywood might just be the new carbon ...
Anyway regardless of what a famous theif said to me once... 'that the pioneer always gets an arrow in the back...'
I will continue with this project and hope that one day I will be able to ride this Fixed Wheel Flat Bar creation, in resin coated sepia yellows and tans, through the streets of Harajiku weaving awake of coolness in my path...

The sepia colored *blue print...

Embronic stage 1

Underbelly, thats 100mph tape at work !!

Steam bending over the rice cooker thingy ...

Some of the 50something parts being persuaded to play the game.

BB glueup

Any idea's on rim color at this stage???

The Won Bok - Bike connection again ...what's going on ??!!

Tatami framed frame...


Cycle Tragic !!!

Just can't help myself ....A Cycling High Priest with bad clothing sense or just another sage?

Cannungra Outpost Cafe 7am Sunday here I come !!!!
What do you think Cloudbase ? Are you in on this one... I can see a pillion seat and pegs on this ...they'll throw there keys away and walk !!

Copper plate and Hickory, cane rims ....mmmm
Can't wait to see the patina Chip ...

Back to Japan...Shinjiku

White tyres, red lock, puke colored Fixed wheel flat bar cocktail....

No bar tape fixed wheeled coolness in ghosty silvery grey ! What Next ???

Harajiku New York styled Hipster that's what!
For the under-educated .... thats a white Aero Spoke upfront and a high profile rim anodised *blue* fixed rear with a spoke card.... Track Stand please !!!

Monster Mini Bike outside the Fixedwheel bike shop in Harajiku ....Ironic paradox or sheer brilliance ???

White Green Red local ride in Odawara ... thank god some style has hit the joint

I'm yours...

Kerin Pro buddy overtaking me on the way up Ashigara Pass ....I stayed with himby pulling out every cog in my handbag ....but he was on a trak bike !!

Recent convert cutting his/her teeth, don't dispare Xmass is just around the corner

Mavic Yellow or Matillic Pink ? I cant decide ...needs a wheel rack though !!

Grey and white always go well together... who rides such a statement?

Sweet Mavic combo

Monkey territory on Shodoshima Island

Free Ferry ...

Back to more tragic stuff !!

Spoke cards high rimed colored chain masterpiece....yeh?

Seriously worked spokes highlighting a pencil thin fork line in green ...Hey I'm starting to get this fashion thing Tracy...!!!

Inland Sea - Naoshima Island

Naoshima is a small island with more than its fair share of Art installations...
There is a famous Modern Art Gallery that is best seen to be belived.
Here are some pieces scattered around the island as a warm up for the gallery....

This dude is waiting out side the Gallerys Hotel which is worth a stay when the yen rate is favourable...

How did they get the sun to set right between the islands...??

Roll on Roll Off .... just the way I like it !

Art ?

Ironic sunset?

Yurt hurt .... if only the yen rate was better !!!

Bridge.... Now this is a bridge

Here is a pic from a bus going over to northern Shikoku Island from Kobe...
Its a fucking big bridge!!! Thats a bulk carrier about to go under it...

Hey wake up Pete..!!!

Heres part of the elevated Hwy from Osaka to Kobe the ground all the way with the odd bridge or tunnel ...

The Long and Winding road !!

After the Shimanami Bridge Ride what better ride could you have than the 2,000m high run on ‘Ishizushi Mt Skyline Drive’
The photos don’t do it justice… a little too much attention was needed getting up the thing !!! But I’m pleased I did it …. And pleased that the hotel at the top was open and had a room for us.

I've seen the light ...

Where's my holiday??

Sweet roads ....

Hope you like switchbacks ??

The closest thing to heven ...
Those lower Mt ranges are probably 1000m high...

Shimanami Bridge Shuffle

This is quite an amazing ride if you have time.
Its a succession of bridges linking a bunch of islands across the Japanese Inland sea between mainland Honshu and Shikoku Island…

Don’t quote me but its about 80km across and comprises 5 or so bridges. The bridge in this pic is actually 3 bridges linked together several kilometers long. You can see the massive pylons off in the distance.
It has its own cycle way and carries little traffic… the views are amazing and just check the cycleway ramps to get on and off the thing …now that infrastructure !!!

Shimanami Cycling road... linking some of the bridges

One of several bridges linking the islands.

Somewhere on the way ...

The blessed ferry ...

Somewhere else along the way...

On one bridge the cycleway is under the road deck...the lane on the right is for >125cc motorbikes

This is the cyclist Hotel at the Shikoku Island end ...well worth a stay.... it has a great onsen and you are welcome to bring your bikes into your room civilized.

Another bridge

Toy Land

The 'bridge' on the right is actually the on /off ramp to one of the Shimanami bridges!!! That's amazing cycling facilities don't you think?

Another clover leaf for cyclist and walkers....

The girls at the cyclist hotel...

The worlds out there ... Ride all over it !!!